Social technologies have led to increasing participatory activities and institutions are interested in the potential of using these for outreach and engagement. Through offering new spaces and tools that allow users to consume and also to contribute content, institutions are expanding their traditional services which could redefine their role and relevance in the digital cultural heritage landscape. This study investigates the decision-making and practices underpinning current handling of social metadata and public-contributed contents (PCC). The focus is on examining the motivations for soliciting contributions, if and how these are moderated and managed, if they are integrated into the institutional data and knowledge base, and the extent to which public stakeholders moderate. The study also involves an investigation of whether, and how, memory institutions consider diversity and inclusiveness in soliciting participation and contributions, and the values placed on PCC, as compared to institutional resources. The aim of this study is to shed light on these by surveying libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions.
How institutions deal with the social metadata and PCC they gather, and what they do with the contributions, could be a key determining factor of the success of their participatory practice as part of their larger effort to capture and preserve collective memories. This survey shows that the profession still has a way to go towards these goals. There is little evidence that demonstrates integration of a participatory culture and activities into the strategic directions and documentary practices of institutions.
Funding source: Victoria University of Wellington
Award Identifier / Grant number: Faculty Research Grant 209221
Funding statement: I wish to thank Victoria University of Wellington Grant 209221 for funding this study and the research assistance provided by Benjamin Moore. I also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments on improving this paper, in particular, with regard to the presentation of the findings.
About the author
Chern Li Liew is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. Liew’s research focuses on information services as socio-technical environments. She is interested in social informatics, digital cultural heritage, participatory enrichment of digital cultural heritage resources, value-adding digital information, and the social sustainability of digital information services. She currently is on the Editorial Advisory boards of the International Journal of Digital Library Systems and Online Information Review. “Social Media in Archives and Libraries: A Snapshot of Planning, Evaluation, and Preservation Decisions,” which she wrote with Vanessa King and Gillian Oliver, was published in PDT&C 44.1 (2015): 3–11.
I wish to thank Victoria University of Wellington Grant 209221 for funding this study and the research assistance provided by Benjamin Moore. I also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments on improving this paper, in particular, with regard to the presentation of the findings.
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